I had plans this weekend. Then I didn’t. Or rather, then Ellie’s plans were my plans. She thought it would be cool to go camping at the Great Sand Dunes in the Sangre de Cristos. After explaining to Ellie that the 4th of July is perhaps the busiest camping weekend ever, we booked a motel in Alamosa, because sure enough, all the camping spots were full.
The San Luis Valley is notable for how flat it is, and just plain barren, but there are things to do. Of all the random things, there is an alligator farm just west of the Sand Dunes. Ellie’s friend Kathryn came with us.
Since we got to Alamosa in the afternoon, we headed to the Sand Dunes at night to watch the stars. It’s a unique national park. To get to the Sand Dunes, you first have to wade across an ankle-deep creek. The water is warm during the day but freezing cold at night.
The creek is a bit deeper earlier in the season, carrying snow-melt down from Crestone Peak. These are the head waters of the Rio Grande.
The Dunes are a special spot to watch the sun set, and to star gaze after 10 pm. We could also see fireworks 30 miles away in Alamosa.
The girls were ready to sandboard the next day. The sand was too hot to walk barefoot before noon. I suggest getting there as early as possible in the summer months.
Ellie got the hang of it quick. She caught some air in this photo. And she collected 72 mosquito bites. Best to visit the Great Sand Dunes in April and May to avoid the mosquitos.